KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has called on nations bordering the South China Sea to seek a common ground that will benefit all parties.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said rather than competing for total sovereign rights of the South China Sea, it is best for the countries to work together to settle the dispute.
"Based on shared economic concept, at present all the bordering countries are sharing the same resources from the sea.
"Therefore, we should concentrate more on efforts to mitigate and come up with common ground of the disputed waters.
"The key right now is for negotiation and also to practice restraint on all sides to avoid any conflicts," he told a press conference after the launch of Maritime Institute of Malaysia’s 6th South China Sea Conference and Malaysia International Marine Expo 2017 today.
Nur Jazlan was responding on the on-going feud over the South China Sea by China and Southeast Asian nations.
China is claiming rights to the largest portions of the sea, including waters approaching Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Indonesia.
He said the countries should work together to better manage the natural resources, particularly on the depletion of its marine life.
Earlier in his keynote address Nur Jazlan said the conference, with theme Forging a Shared Future of the South China Sea was to bring together experts and a range of audience to exchange and contribute constructive ideas in managing the seas.
"This year's conference is timely as it focuses on promoting the South China Sea as a contributor to the wellbeing of the littoral and global communities rather than as an area of contention and potential conflict.
"It is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on the oceans and seas which are in dire need of greater conservation and sustainability initiatives.
Nur Jazlan said good governance, an enabling environment, sustainable land and marine based human activities and adequate measures are required to reduce the negative impacts on the marine environment.
Present were Maritime Institute of Malaysia chairman Vice Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor and director general First Admiral (Rtd) Datuk Chin Yoon Chin.